The Wal-Mart Decade - AchieveMax® Top Ten Book Review
The Wal-Mart Decade: How a New Generation of Leaders Turned Sam Walton's Legacy into the World's #1 Company was destined for publication. It was simply a matter of when it would be written and by whom. In fact, I'm amazed that it wasn't published long before this. Wal-Mart is so much more than the smiling faces of the senior citizens who greet you with open arms at the front of the store, it's more than the bouncing Smiley Face continually reducing prices in every aisle, and it's certainly much more than a typical discount store chain headquartered in the small Arkansas town of Bentonville. Wal-Mart is the real thing. It's here to stay. It's a world-class company.
There is much to learn from this corporate giant that recently moved into the #1 spot on the Fortune 500 ahead of GM, Exxon Oil, Ford Motor, and GE. Do you think Wal-Mart simply stumbled into that coveted position? Consider this:
- Wal-Mart has revenues of $246 Billion;
- Wal-Mart has 1 million 300 thousand employees;
- Wal-Mart has mastered logistics and the supply chain;
- Wal-Mart shares its strategic vision with each and every employee;
- Wal-Mart leaders never rest on their laurels;
- Wal-Mart continually find ways to reduce costs while improving the shopping experience for its customers;
- Wal-Mart is the first company ever to head both the Fortune 500 list of American companies and that magazine's list of Most Admired Companies; and
- the Wal-Mart management team has devised and then implemented strategies for rapid but prudent growth.
The greatest strength in the Wal-Mart arsenal is the fact that their CULTURE is everything. It's hard to argue with the reality of Wal-Mart's continued performance.
I think it's important to realize that the author of this book isn't a devoted Wal-Mart fan trying to recruit additional followers for the retail giant. Robert Slater was a reporter for Time Magazine for 21 years. He is the best-selling author of Jack Welch and the GE Way and has also written acclaimed books about IBM and Cisco. He probed deeply into the Wal-Mart organization from top to bottom, from Bentonville to China and beyond. This book offers a fresh and fascinating look at this unique company-as it was and as it has become-with an immediacy and insider's feel unrivaled since Sam Walton's own memoir, Made In America.
Sam Walton set the bar high for his future leaders. He created a unique culture based on three basic beliefs:
Respect for the individual;
Service to the customers; and
Striving for excellence.
Walton was also totally committed to what he characterized as his Ten Rules of Business ... each of which is explained in detail in the book. The author allocates three of 14 chapters to "The Founder and His Legacy." He wisely devotes the remainder of his book to explaining how the new management team devised and then implemented strategies for tremendous growth.
There really have been three quite different periods of Wal-Mart's development from a Ben Franklin franchise (opened in Bentonville as the Walton 5 and 10 in March of 1951) to the global retailing giant it is today. The three periods include the Sam Walton Years until his death in 1992, the David Glass Years (1992-2000), and the Lee Scott Years (2000-Present).
For years, many people asked about Wal-Mart the same question that others asked about Southwest Airlines: "What's going to happen after HE leaves?" With all due respect to both Sam Walton and Herb Kelleher, their respective organizations have done just fine. Perhaps that is the ultimate test of leadership: a heritage which endures after the leader is either gone or much less involved. In this exceptionally informative book, Slater explains how and why such a heritage guides and inspires the entire Wal-Mart organization.
More than 100 business book reviews written by Harry K. Jones are available at www.AchieveMax.com/books/index.htm">http://www.AchieveMax.com/books/.
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www.AchieveMax.com/motivational-speaker-harry.htm">Harry K. Jones is a professional speaker and consultant for AchieveMax®, Inc., a firm specializing in custom-designed keynote presentations, seminars, and consulting services. Harry has made presentations ranging from leadership to employee retention and time management to stress management for a number of industries, including education, financial, government, healthcare, hospitality, and manufacturing. He can be reached at 800-886-2MAX or by visiting www.AchieveMax.com">http://www.AchieveMax.com.
The term "thought provoking" is over-used but that does describe eighth grader Melissa Shang's opinion piece in the New York Times in which she asks why "there are very few stories about kids in wheelchairs, and there are even fewer with a disabled person who is cheerful and happy." Her powerful article questions why "disability is always seen as a misfortune, and disabled characters are simply opportunities to demonstrate the kindness of the able-bodied protagonists."
Tracy K. Smith has been named the 22nd poet laureate of the United States. Smith's poetry has won her such top awards in her field as the James Laughlin Award, an Academy of American Poets Fellowship, and, for her 2011 collection Life on Mars, the Pulitzer Prize.
For many years, the publishing industry's major annual event, BookExpo, was aimed at publishing insiders only. A few years ago, organizers ReedPOP, started experimenting with allowing in more readers, which morphed into a separate one-day event in 2014 called BookCon which immediately followed BookExpo. In 2015, BookCon moved to two days; then in 2016 back to one day.
This year, BookExpo's show floor was reduced from three days to two and BookCon's expanded back to two days. While engaging with fans is seen as positive by many in the publishing industry, the shows' continuing evolution is causing headaches for some, particularly the smaller, specialized publishers who wished to exhibit at BookExpo but not BookCon and thus found themselves relegated to a separate exhibit area at the Javits Center in New York.
An Amazing World of Dr. Seuss museum opened in Springfield, MA last weekend. Springfield is the home town of Theodor Geisel better known by his pen name Dr. Seuss - who wrote and illustrated dozens of rhyming children's books including The Cat in the Hat and Green Eggs and Ham. The museum features interactive exhibits, artwork never before displayed publicly and explains how his childhood experiences in the city about 90 miles west of Boston shaped his work.
Helen Dunmore has died aged 64 of cancer. She authored 12 novels, three books of short stories, numerous books for young adults and children and 11 collections of poetry.
She was also Chair of the Society of Authors until shortly before her death, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. She lived in Cliftonwood, Bristol the setting for her poignant last novel, Birdcage Walk (published in the UK earlier this year and due to publish in the US on August 1). Although she knew she was dying only at the editing stage she suggests, in an afterword, that she must have known subliminally because the novel was "full of a sharper light, rather as a landscape becomes brilliantly distinct in the last sunlight before a storm".
On Monday, the Nobel Foundation released Bob Dylan's lecture (which he gave just shy of the 6 month deadline in order to receive the award and cash prize of US$900,000. In his 27 minute speech, Dylan explored the topic that was on many people's minds when he was announced as the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, can song lyrics be literature?
"The speech is extraordinary and, as one might expect, eloquent," Sara Danius, the Swedish Academy's permanent secretary, wrote in a blog post. "Now that the Lecture has been delivered, the Dylan adventure is coming to a close."
Listen to the speech
The U.S. Postal Service is honoring Henry David Thoreau (b. July 12, 1817) during the bicentennial year of his birth with a Forever Stamp. A first-day-issue stamp dedication ceremony took place last week at the the Walden Pond State Reservation Visitors Center in Concord, Mass.
Denis Johnson, the prize-winning fiction writer, poet and playwright best known for his surreal and transcendent story collection "Jesus' Son," has died at age 67.
Jean Fritz, an award-winning writer whose work helped transform historical biographies for children from leaden recitals of battles and dates into warm, human narratives full of quirks and crotchets and satisfyingly strange facts, died on Sunday at her home in Sleepy Hollow, N.Y. She was 101.
The author of more than four dozen books, Mrs. Fritz was known in particular for her biographies of many of the signal figures of 18th- and 19th-century American history.
America's libraries got a major boost this week on Capitol Hill as a group of leading publishing, information, software, and other businesses unveiled an organized effort to advocate for federal library funding. The move comes in response to the Trump administration's proposal to eliminate virtually all federal library funding, and the agency that distributes those funds to all 50 states.